Signs you're healing.

Love this!
I hate the word "trigger". I know that's what it is, but I associate it with 60yr old conservative internet trolls who call everyone that disagrees with them, a triggered snowflake. I'm still learning mine bc I haven't been in every possible situation. I went years without a "traditional" job, I went years without dating, I haven't experienced every major life change, I've lived a lot of my life in a bubble. There are some I'm super aware of, basically none of them are avoidable:
Coffee in the morning(I rarely drink coffee.)
Alcohol on someone's breath.
Inconsistency, especially from men.
Certain phrases.
Major life changes.
Anything that makes me feel trapped, physically or situational. I need to always see a way out and I hate feeling like something is beyond my control.
After I moved to Austin, I went through a lot of depression. New city, new job, new apt, started seeing a couple of guys(I only really like one of them though), had some issues with my child, and a couple of other things I won't mention, no close friends here yet. I would get so damn depressed for like 4 days, totally overanalyze everything, come out with a plan, get no traction, doubt plan, get depressed. Over and over for months, the same loop. One day I just kind of cracked. I was so frustrated, I had gotten into a fight with someone I never wanted to fight with, my son had left for summer, all these financial burdens piled up at once, I thought I might get furloughed, I had some major decisions looming over me. It just felt like I had run out of possibilities, motivation, and purpose. No escape. All I did was cry, listen to sad music, watch sad movies. rage clean, and complain to God. My heart literally hurt for days. But I'm still proud of myself bc it was less severe and shorter than the last time I "cracked"(actually, a couple years atleast). I felt it coming and I kept pulling myself out, but one day I couldn't do it anymore. Shit happens, deal and move on. So here I am, moved on. I just hope next time...bc there will probably be a next time...its even less than this time.
As of now, I feel great. I feel like I'm on track, I know what I'm doing, I have a plan and a purpose, I feel totally capable of doing it.
Healing(another word I dislike) has an ebb and flow. It's not easy to undo decades of broken thinking.
It's even harder when you're trying to do it on your own.
For many people, including myself, it's a hell of a lot easier to punish and criticize yourself rather than acknowledge the positive.

Welcome back, self.

I decided to start a blog instead of constantly updating my instagram. Kind of had to laugh about the stuff I put on here before.I was trying so hard to be this cliche super mom but I had no idea what I was doing! Now I have more of an idea of what to do, but I don't want to. I think it's common to look back at your past and kind of have a sense of embarrassment, but pride in how far you've come.
Here's what has been up the last few years...
-went to college for political science and nonprofits.
-I work for the government so I'm still poor.
-Still single.
-Moved to Chapel Hill...
-Moved to Charlotte...
-Moved to Kansas...
-Moved back to Arkansas...
-Decided I STILL hate Arkansas, moved to Austin, TX. Honestly, not a big Austin fan, but I'm not moving again unless it's back to Chapel Hill, NC.
- lost weight, gained weight, lost weight...still losing it.
-Found out I have complex PTSD, been working on that.

dress form

Dress form are an essential if you want to start sewing clothes for yourself. Kids are pretty universally sized but it's trickier for a woman's body. I went through a ton of tutorials and found the best ones for making your own dress form.The recurring theme in each tutorial is to stuff it really good and firm or it will start caving in after awhile. It's best to use expanding foam from the hardward store,but it's not essential.Also rip your tape into pieces instead of just going around your body. There are ways to make paper mache dress forms but from my experience with paper mache,it likes to crumble and crack. That's not good for something you are sticking pins in,but it would be good if you want it just for decoration purposes.

The first link is for actually making the dress form.
I like this one this best b/c it includes the shoulders and thighs,both of which are a little tricky in altering clothes(definitely don't want to end up with camel toe!).

This is a link for a paper tape dress form. It looks like paper mache and would probably hold up better than it,but for utility purposes I would stick with duct tape.

This magazine also has an epic tutorial for putting your form on a stand and for the actual stand. If you find it too complicated,there is a simpler way.
For a more simple dress form stand,find an old floor lamp. Most come in sections that you have to screw together. Just don't put the part on that contains the light,slide the dress form on top of it. If you aleady closed it up you can make a small hole,otherwise you can tape it up AFTER you slide it on. You will likely have to put something under the dress form to act as a "nut" and keep it from sliding down the pole. No matter what it is,use epoxy or hot glue to secure it and you should be set.

Halloween at the last minute.

I often end up waiting until the last minute to celebrate holidays. At first I couldn't wait to start making wreaths and get out the tree. I even considered getting a white christmas tree that I could decorate for Halloween,Thanksgiving,then Christmas.After awhile I got tired of hearing "IS IT CHRISTMAS? CAN WE GO TRICK OR TREATING? CAN I OPEN A PRESENT?",so now I wait... If you do too(for whatever reason),here's a roundup of good links for costume and craft ideas.
The first link is for adults. Some are pretty lame but most of them you can probably throw together in an hr or less.

This link has diy costumes for kids,some may take a little longer than a couple of hrs but don't underestimate yourself. I once made a transforming transformers costume while my son was at school! It ended up being too big and he spent most of the night with it off but still thought it was amazing.

More super adorable kid ones. I LOVE the stick figure one. I might actually do that for myself!

This is the jackpot for couples costumes.

For all other last minute Halloween crafts and ideas:

What I've learned from crafting.

 I love events,birthdays,first days of school,baking. I love making banners and planning parties. I AM that mom who spends hrs making her kid's Valentine box, who sews her pillows and obsessively decorates her kid's room. THAT'S ME! Sometimes I feel like I'm wasting my time but what bothers me is when others think I'm wasting my time. Why not just go to the store? Do you really think your kid cares? Or when other moms think I'm trying to show off or one up them. Every week I read some new article about how it's ok to not be "that mom",which I apparently am "that mom" enough to feel slightly offended. I do what I do b/c I like doing it. I need to create things for no reason other than its my desire. And I don't feel like it's a waste of time,I actually feel like I've learned a few things from crafting(baking,painting,sewing,etc). Here are a few things I'd like to share.

1. Nothing is as easy as it looks,even if you follow directions you can still mess it up.
If this doesn't apply to everything in life,I don't know what does. This is why I have so much patience with people,even people without kids who think they know how everyone should raise theirs. Whether it's raising kids,putting together something from Ikea,or icing a cake. You're probably going to screw it up.

2.Being patient is better than being fast.
Nothing will ruin your project faster than YOU! Sometimes you just have to let the paint dry, put your sewing away for the next day, suffer through the shitty job to get the one you want, lose the weight the "right way".

3.To not get discouraged if someone can do something better than me.
I look at the things some people do and think "WOW,I could never do that,some people are just gifted"(like maintaining a blog..). But it's true that every expert was once a beginner. Let that process through your mind for a minute. The greatest pianist in the world was once a little kid who couldn't even play a chord. The person who wrote the best selling book of all time,once didn't even know how to write. What do you wish you could do that you think you're too old for or not smart enough to figure out? I remember when I first started sewing and immediately tried to do a shirt but felt like throwing myself off a cliff when it came to the sleeves. Now I can do sleeves with ease and that makes me feel confident about learning other things.

4.Make sure I have the supplies before I start.
The last one may not seem like it applies to life but think about it. We have to make sure we make enough money before we buy a house or car,that before winter comes we have coats/hats/gloves for the kids,or enough gas in the car to get wherever we need to go.

5. Sometimes you need to get up from the table and walk away.
Working through frustration isn't always the answer. You have to know when to go,clear your mind,and come back with a new attitude. This is especially applicable to life. I used to be a preschool teacher with 2 and 3 yr olds and something any preschool teacher will tell you is that kids act crazy when you're having a bad day. It's not a coincidence that these two events are occurring together, somehow children convert your frustration into their own endless energy. Doing something as simple as bringing a sub in while you take a 10min break,completely changes the atmosphere and course of the day. When I became a single parent this piece of knowledge helped me in those moments when all I wanted to do was scream. A break was better for me AND for him. When I am doing homework and get stuck,I just take a break and come back with so many ideas. When I'm not sure what direction to take in life,I get away from everything and come back with answers. BREAKS ARE GREAT!

6. You can make awesome things out of junk.
I have to admit,I get a little thrill from taking something ugly and making it beautiful. I actually believe this is the theme of my life;to give new life to the discarded. Whether it's a dresser or a person or an idea. That is probably why I chose to major in Social Work. Not only have I learned to find the beauty but I learned to see that things aren't always best used for their intended purposes. I've always been under the impression that I couldn't help people unless I had a lot of money,however I had a lightbulb moment after meeting a woman at a flea market. She told me that even though she never had a lot of money,she had always wanted to do mission trips. Due to kids,money,age,health,she never found herself able to go. She could,however,knit like a boss. She turned her hobby into a mission by knitting gloves,socks,and hats and donating them to kids in need. Instead of being upset about what she was unable to do,she found a use for what she could do.

             Crafting has,for the most part, been therapeutic for me. Like most parents I've felt like the world is on my shoulders. Like I'm not Crystal but just mommy. That's fine,I love being mommy. But I maintain that it's bad for your child to lose yourself as a person. All my crafting has been that thing in my life that's for Crystal. Yes,I get to make things for my son and for our home but it's not out of day to day obligations. If I spend hours making my child a minecraft cake,it's not b/c I want to impress him or compete with someone, It's b/c Crystal likes doing it! I'm not the best,I can't do everything I would like to do, but everything I do makes me better and better and soon I can do the things I didn't think I could do...and yes,if I work hard on something I will probably put it on facebook or send a pic to my friend. It's just like when someone's kid graduates or you pass college algebra. Have fun creating! <3

cheap apartment living room

   Did some minor changes to my living room. I'm finally happy with one part of it,especially b/c it was so inexpensive to do! I will give a run down so far.... Pics on wall...made the silhouette myself,got all the frames at Helping Hands for $12. Made the picture ledges out of 2 pieces of trim that were left over from the picture ledge I made for my bedroom(just cut each one in half,making 4,then screwed them together),total-$8. Printed the pics on photo paper($5) from my own printer. The other pictures I found on Pinterest and printed out. Pillows;actually have two of each...the diamond ones were on sale for $3.47 a piece at Kirkland's! Other one I was trying out the fabric(wrapping around old pillows),but decided I like it and have since made them($12 worth of fabric). I made the ladder myself($5,see post below),the blankets I picked up from $1 bin at Helping Hands($3)...this is a must for us,we are blankie people! Coffee table-liked the design of it but the top was bad($10. Screwed some boards to the top,stained them($10 for boards,which INCLUDES the ones I used for the entertainment center..). The bowl and green scrolly thing on gallery wall were $2 at Helping Hands(of course,my fave store!). Then I just tossed some books on top to make it look homey and encourage reading.
coffee table before picture. There used to be some straw mat looking thing on top,my son decided to help me paint,we quickly realized you can't paint over straw... If you can't fix it,hide it!
Entertainment center before....This was actually a roadkill rescue. It had drawers,I thought I would be so creative to put doors on. Still something that could be done but I needed drawers. First diy,total flop....
2nd DIY, added the extra boards from coffee table(just stained same color and screwed on). FINALLY did find the missing handle. SO,roadkill rescue to cute little entertainment center for the cost of a can of paint($11) and a couple of boards. TOTAL spent on living room: $75. Of course there's more to my living room but I've been broke/busy all summer so I haven't got it how I want it yet. You don't have to have a lot of money to have a nice place and you don't have to have a showroom to love walking in your door and feeling proud of your home. Do what makes your life functional and comfortable. 


STILL working on my room. Of course now I have moved so I have a different one than in the previous entries. Bigger but I can't paint the walls so I'm feeling quite limited.  Instead of fighting the white,I really wanted to make it look like I WANT them. I've been seeing all kinds of cute white rooms with pops of color:


And then there's my room..... Obviously it doesn't measure up. I started to paint my headboard  a coral color but  still can't decide....
I want to do the orange,coral,and turquoise but when I move,I definitely want to do gray/yellow. I love it and have found lots of neat fabric for it.


           Since I moved to a smaller place I've had a hard time with furniture arrangement. There's just There's this super awkward corner that has been giving me grief. I hate things looking unfinished and everyday,as soon as I walk in the door,that's the first space I look at. I've tried end tables(they just didn't look right,I can't explain it). I thought I would put a shelf there but if I had two shelves it would make my living room look more cluttered,if I moved the one I had over there,then the other side of the room would look unbalanced and naked, and I can't move my couches anywhere else. I realized I also needed a place for my ridiculous amount of blankets,and since they match my colors,I decided on a quilt ladder. Since I have no idea where to buy one, I ran out to lowe's and got a long piece of MDF trim($4),had them cut it in half. Then 2 dowel rods(medium width),had them cut the pieces to the width I needed the ladder. Everytime I ask them to cut MDF they say they're not supposed to but then do it anyway. After I got home I laid the big pieces on the floor next to each other,and marked them so I would know exactly where to put the screws and have a straight ladder. Then I just screwed through the MDF,into the dowels. At first it looked like it wouldn't lean properly,but when I finished it it looked fine.Yes,there are exposed screws but I think it looks pretty good.  Just something to consider if you have an awkward space to fill. I also bought a floor lamp to go there next to it but I don't think I like it(hence,the tags still attached). I love the lamp,but not with my colors.

menu chalkboard

I had this giant corner on my kitchen counter that I just didn't know how to fill. Does anyone else have problems decorating counters and shelves? Initially I stuck a clock over there but it just didn't look right. So I made this instead. I got the frame at Helping Hands,I believe it's an 11x13. Then I got a piece of plywood I had laying around,and traced the inside of the frame onto the plywood. But when I whipped out my trusty jigsaw,I cut about a quarter inch outside the line so I could glue it to the inside of the frame. Then I painted it with chalkboard paint,made some flowers,and put it on that cute little easel.Make one for your kitchen,be creative with it,it's something you can easily personalize to your decor and it's so cheap but looks super nice!

PhotobucketI posted this to Savvy Southern Style's link up party. Check out her blog,she's got some awesome stuff on there. A talented lady!

One more post tonight...before and afters

Before. It's cute,sure. But it's not me,I don't think it's very homey and I'm not a fan of brown.I could repaint and maybe I will in the near future,but it's too much work for this busy lady. I definitely need to hire someone to do it and that's just not in the books right now. So I tried to think of ways to break up the brown and add some color.


 Like most of us,I'm on a serious budget. I really have to make do with what I have and add to it with the smaller,cheaper things. So instead of buying or making new curtains,I added white sheers($10 for both) to the brown ones. I think it makes it feel softer and more cozy. To break up the brown floor/couch,I added a cream rug. Honestly,I so badly wanted the brown zebra print I saw but it was $70. Which is still cheap but it's not SUPER cheap! Cream rug,$35!  I found the coffee table at Helping Hands for $20. I think that's a great deal since it's real wood and I like the structure of it. My original intention was to turn it into an ottoman and to repaint the hardware. However I decided to put this off until I get some sort of work space in my house b/c I use that spot to do my homework! I also sewed some pillows($5) to add some warmth(and got a little doggy to add some love!)! So,for $70 I added some homeyness to my living room without having to paint.
Here's another before from the other side of the room. I'd really like to rearrange the furniture but not sure how to do it with the door and cable hook ups being where they are. But like before,it's nice,but it's not that homey,it's not really me. Actually,it's my sister,this is all her stuff! She moved out and is getting married.

After. I'm sure you can't see my mirror that well but it looks great in real life. In another post I added how I made the stuff on the wall. Total cost for the pics,mirror,and lampshade. Around $25. The running tally so far,is $95 for the living room redo. A few things I want to work on:I don't like the area around the lamp and tv. I think it looks like it's missing something. The room doesn't seemed balanced and I LOATHE cords showing!!! If you have any advice on how to  make things really pop,let me know! Your criticism is my future wisdom! Btw,I know the ceiling fan is hideous! However I live in Arkansas and we NEED our ceiling fans.
Last pic for the living room. I don't have a before but there was just a plant there. This I haven't been happy with. I've been debating on putting a floating shelf over there and maybe one of those tiered fruit baskets that go on the floor,for stuff like hats,gloves,dog toys. I still don't know. But it does look better than before. Before there was just a plant on a barstool.

First living room project is this starburst mirror. I love them and couldn't wait to make one! This is just the standard,small dowel rods mixed with chopsticks. But for an extra touch I hot glued twine around it. But if you chose to do it(personally,I think it would look great against a colored wall),be VERY careful with the hot glue. As you can tell,there are smudges on it,that's from the hot glue. I can't really see it in person but it shows up on camera.Go figure.
 My favorite thing,I actually made these up myself! Atleast that's what i think but something is always thought of by someone somewhere! The "S" is for our last name and the "O" is for my son and the "C" is for me. Everyone who comes over compliments me on them. The other good thing about them is I can just change out the scrapbook paper when I redecorate! The frame for the "S" came from Helping's a store here like Goodwill...It was this really gross looking landscape that had serious sun damage. But the frame was nice,so I painted over the pic.The "mat" is actually just scrapbook paper.
 I wanted to do a hanging lamp in the corner but I kept procrastinating on buying a kit.So to force myself to do it I went ahead and made the shade. I got this shade for $1 at Helping Hands,covered it,and made some flowers. I pinned the flowers on so that if I change my mind I can just take them off and put them on something else. Instead of buying a kit I put the lamp shade on my old lamp(it's one of those that looks like a bowl at the top).
I debated forever if I should put a photo wall here or photo ledge,something with photos.This is the back wall by my front door. But no matter what I did it looked cluttered. So I was poking around Pottery Barn and found some burlap matted frames. Then I went over to Helping Hands...and yes,they do know me there...found a giant frame with another ugly picture,then got a smaller frame,bought some burlap,covered the picture in burlap(after taking out the glass of course). Then I hit a snag. I realized that I had no way of putting the pic in the smaller frame unless I cut the back out of the bigger picture. Well,I knew if i did this I would ruin the whole thing so I just hammered a nail through the pic into the wall. Now it's a snap to change the pic. Even easier than if I had cut a hole in the back! I get lots of compliments on this too!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

blog post for understanding patterns

This is an excellent blog post for explaining patterns. She has a lot of good sewing tips and tutorials and is more skilled than me so check it out...but come back later!

Some of my best sewing tips

When you first start sewing everything can look really messy even if you do exactly what you think you're supposed to do. It took me a long time to figure out why my mom kept nagging at me to use pins and iron things. I was thinking that's dumb,you take the fabric and sew it,what's so hard about that?! I guess it doesn't work that way! Sewing takes a lot of patience.If you don't have it then you will get it. One of the most important things is to measure everything exact.This is what I dislike the most about sewing. This is what I use,I have a big one and a smaller rectangle one.
I lay the fabric on the big piece and if the corners of the fabric don't line up exactly with the corners of the mat then I take the smaller piece,put it on top,and cut it straight.Then I measure out what I need and cut that too. I highly suggest a rotary cutter but you HAVE to have a great pair of scissors for sewing. JUST for sewing,don't let the kids use it to cut paper!If you're making more than one of the same thing then what I do is make a tempelate out of cardboard. Then I just put it on top of the fabric,use a fabric pencil to draw around it,then cut with scissors. I save my tempelates and write on there what I used them for for future reference.
My next sewing tip,wash your fabric before you use it. That way it won't shrink when you're done making something for someone and they pop it in the washer. Next,IRON BEFORE YOU CUT*you may as well put an ironing board in your sewing area*. When you fold over a piece of fabric that you plan on sewing,iron that down as well. This is called pressing your seam.But don't iron like you would a shirt.Just put the iron down,lift it,and keep repeating that until you've done the whole thing.This is a very important step and if you don't do it it can ruin your whole project. Before you sew put LOTS of pins along the seam to hold it down. If you're sewing more than one piece of fabric at the same time then put them ALL around the edges of whatever you're sewing. This helps keep things straight. The next thing I suggest buying is a pin cushion. They're actually super easy to make and this could be one of your first projects. Do a google search for "pincushion tutorials",you will find lots. My fave are the ones that you put in cute little cups. You don't even have to sew,just use hot glue. I don't suggest the ones you put on your wrist. Too easy to stab yourself!! When buying pins I'd stick with the ones with the large balls at the end so you don't miss them when you sew and damage your machine. NEXT TIP,go slow. Don't get in a rush. There's a small ruler type thing(I can't for the life of me remember what it's called) by your sewing needle. Just try to keep your seam lined up with it. Something it took me awhile to figure out...follow the seam allowances on the tutorial you're doing. If you're doing something you made up,just make sure you stick with the same one all the way around your project. Your seam allowance is the amount you fold down your fabric that you iron and sew. And make sure the distance between the thread and the edge of your fabric is the same. That's what the ruler thingy is for.
NEXT TIP,when you're done sewing cut as much fabric off the edge as you can without getting too close to the thread, then you turn your material right side out,get a butter knife and push on your seams. That will keep your seams from looking like a butt! Atleast that's how I see it.Don't rip the seams,once you do it you will understand what I'm talking about. THEN IRON AGAIN to make it look more professional and clean. Don't get discouraged,if you mess up your seam then just get a seam ripper and rip out the thread. Don't turn into the Hulk and try and rip with your hands b/c you will probably rip the fabric! You're stronger than you think! These are just my beginner tips,I don't think I left anything out. Here's a small rundown.....
1.Wash/dry your fabric and iron it before you cut.
2. Measure measure measure measure....then cut!
3.Obey the seam allowance all the way around.
4.Press your seams with your iron,but don't actually iron,just press and lift.
5.Use lots of pins and take your time,make sure to keep the same distance between the thread and fabric edge.
6.cut off excess material from your seam before you turn it right side out.
7.Push out your seam with a butter knife or something similar.
9.Pat yourself on the back when you're done,even if it's not perfect,you did your best and next time you will do better!

Things to get:
1.great pair of scissors and a rotary cutter.
2.2 quilter mats,small and large.
3.lots of pins.
4. Lots of thread,lots and lots and lots!

Make It and Love It: Sewing Tips: What is Selvage, Bias and Grain?

This is a good tutorial,she has so many awesome things on her site.I totally suggest checking it out.

Make It and Love It: Sewing Tips: What is Selvage, Bias and Grain?: ". Sometimes fancy words are used in an online sewing tutorial or in store bought patterns. And unless you've heard them used before......the..."

Memo board tutorial

In the spirit of the new year I'm trying to get more organized. It's amazing everything there is to do with just one kid,I can't imagine having more and not being super organized! This is a little memo board I made to put in the hallway.That way I have to walk past it a million times a day. Here's a simple tutorial for anyone wanting to make one. I definitely didn't come up with this,I've seen them all over the blog world.

First get any size frame you like,WITH glass.Paint it..if it's finished wood then sand it first.Saves you a coat of paint..

I didn't take pics for all the steps b/c it's easy to explain. Pull out the back of the picture frame,cut your desired material a little bigger than the actual size,then fold it over and hot glue it. You will probably have to cut your corners but as long as it looks good in the front don't worry about what the back looks like. Then just pop the back back in. Clean the glass first if you need to.

I went ahead and made something to put my dry erase marker in. Just take a piece of ribbon,measure it around your marker and hot glue it. Then hot glue it onto your frame.

You don't have to make a bow but I did b/c I think it looks cute.I glued a thumbtack into the bow but I didn't use it as support. I went ahead and used the hanger for the frame.The bow is for decoration.

I just glued it to the back and.....

Voila,a beautiful memo board!!! Santa didn't bring me my silhouette I wanted(if you don't know what that is,google it,you will be itching for it!),so I made letters the old-fashioned way,glued it to zebra paper,then taped it onto the glass.If you can't see it due to my spastic flash,it says "to do" at the top,then there's a section for "today" and "this week".

I know lots of people read my blog *although I only have one awesome follower!*,but be patient,it will be super awesome soon! If you make one I'd love to see it.